Sport: It’s too bad that US and France meet so early in the tournament - - PressFrom - US
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SportIt’s too bad that US and France meet so early in the tournament

12:20  25 june  2019
12:20  25 june  2019 Source:   bostonglobe.com

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Now, France and the US are set to meet in the quarterfinals in Paris on Friday, which means the tournament will be deprived of one of its two strongest France is the only team to have defeated the US in the last 41 games over two years. And the US has an 11-0-2 mark since that 3-1 defeat in Le

It ’ s a borderline sporting offense that the tournament ’s two best teams and top ticket-sellers, whose On her calendar, there’s never a bad day or an inopportune stage to compete against the best, on I think it honestly is a big character-builder for us .” The night before, Lavelle had watched France ’s

It’s too bad that US and France meet so early in the tournament© marc atkins/Getty Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso (left) tangles with Julie Ertz of the US for ball possession.

The Women’s World Cup is playing out as expected, though the bracket might have been thought out better. Now, France and the United States are set to meet in the quarterfinals in Paris on Friday, which means the tournament will be deprived of one of its two strongest attractions well before the July 7 final.

Les Bleues did their part with a 2-1 extra-time win over Brazil Sunday, and the Red, White, and Blue came through with a 2-1 victory over Spain in Reims Monday.

This was the first time in the tournament the US team has been threatened, as the Spaniards stayed compact defensively, maintained possession in midfield, and scored off a turnover. The goal, by Jennifer Hermoso in the ninth minute, snapped a US shutout streak at 647 minutes and was Spain’s first goal since its opener against South Africa.

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France is the only team to have defeated the United States over the last two years, a stretch of 41 games. The Americans went 25-0-3 before a 3-1 loss to France in Le Havre Jan. 19, and are 11-0-2 since that setback.

The winner of the France-US match could well go on to take the title. But the WWC will lose out with either the home team sidelined or the Americans departing.

■  The US team made several unforced, unpressured errors in group stage games, but did not pay a price. Spain, though, profited as Lucia Garcia took possession off Becky Sauerbrunn, and Hermoso placed a shot from the penalty arc past Alyssa Naeher.

Sauerbrunn took the blame for the turnover, but the fact is US players were not on the same page at times. Just before the goal, Sauerbrunn and Megan Rapinoe missed connections, giving Spain possession. Then, Naeher set up Sauerbrunn for the turnover instead of finding an open teammate.

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■  The US earned two penalty kicks, converted by Rapinoe in the fifth and 76th minutes. The Americans capitalized on a physical advantage, symbolized by an early off-the-ball clash involving Sam Mewis and Vicki Losada. No foul was called but Losada ended up with a bruised eye and was substituted in the 31st minute.

The Spaniards upped their intensity from the start, Maria Leon and Irene Paredes flooring Alex Morgan several times. But late challenges led to the penalties as the Spaniards took down Tobin Heath for the first penalty and tripped Rose Lavelle for the second.

■  Mewis and Rapinoe combined well on the left wing, but Spain right back Marta Corredera limited Rapinoe’s effectiveness near the goal. Mewis’s emergence as a playmaking threat complemented Julie Ertz in midfield. Mewis also helped neutralize Hermoso’s setup ability.

■  Hungarian referee Katalin Kulcsar got off to a rough start, disrupting a pass in the opening seconds, and calling a drop ball. Kulcsar immediately whistled a penalty before the deciding score, but then went through the VAR process, and by the time Rapinoe converted, five minutes had passed. Morgan was set for the PK, but during the VAR review, coach Jill Ellis ordered Rapinoe to take the kick.

Is a FIFA ruling giving France an advantage over the USWNT?

Is a FIFA ruling giving France an advantage over the USWNT? In a clearing of the thick Rambouillet forest some 30 miles southwest of Paris sits Clairefontaine, the legendary training grounds of the French Football Federation. It is home to seemingly endless, perfectly manicured practices pitches (including some indoors), not to mention medical and fitness buildings, locker rooms, state of the art coaching technology, plush dormitories, cafeterias and anything else a soccer team trying to win a World Cup could dream up. The weather is cooler. The isolation invites focus. It is a best-in-world facility.

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■  Canada’s Christine Sinclair might have concluded her WWC career, and she did not get a chance to go out kicking. Sweden took a 1-0 win over Canada in Paris, moving on to a quarterfinal clash with Germany.

Stina Blackstenius made the difference, finishing a pinpoint assist from Kosovare Asllani in the 55th minute. The Canadians had a chance, but Janine Beckie’s penalty kick was saved by Hedvig Lindahl in the 69th minute.

Sinclair has converted 10 times in five WWC finals and totaled 182 career goals for Canada, second on the all-time list behind Abby Wambach (185).

On the goal, Sweden capitalized on a Beckie turnover, counterattacking as central defender Kadeisha Buchanan was caught upfield.

Upcoming Tuesday

■  China vs. Italy, Montpellier — Le Azzurre won Group C on goal difference, defeating Australia and Jamaica. China played a ruthless defensive style, scoring once and surrendering one goal in finishing third in Group B.

■  Japan vs. the Netherlands, Rennes — Japan seemed to be rethinking its tactics in the group stage, benching playmaker Yui Hasegawa after an opening 0-0 tie with Argentina and scoring only once in the run of play. The Dutch have exceeded expectations, winning Group E with a 3-0-0 record behind the play of forward Vivianne Miedema.

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